11 Feb. Genesis 35:16-21,27-29

11 Feb. Rachel dies giving birth to Benjamin

“Jacob and his group left Bethel. Before they came to Ephrath [Bethlehem], Rachel began giving birth to her baby, but she was having much trouble. When Rachel’s nurse saw this, she said, ‘Don’t be afraid, Rachel. You are giving birth to another son,’”

“Rachel gave birth to the son, but she herself died. As she lay dying, she named the boy Son of My Suffering, but Jacob called him Benjamin [meaning ‘favourite son’].”

“Rachel was buried on the road to Ephrath, a district of Bethlehem, and Jacob set up a rock on her grave to honour her. That rock is still there.”

“Then Israel [Jacob] continued his journey and camped just south of Migdal Eder [meaning ‘Tower of Eder’]…”

“Jacob went to his father Isaac at Mamre near Hebron, where Abraham and Isaac had lived.”

“Isaac lived for 180 years. So Isaac breathed his last breath and died when he was very old, and his sons Esau and Jacob buried him [in Machpelah Cave at Hebron].”

          (Genesis 35:16-21 & 27-29)

 


 

Rachel died in c.1690BC and was buried beside the road to Ephrath (Bethlehem) (see Micah 5:2). Jacob and his family erected a mound of stones over Rachel’s tomb in order to mark the location of her grave.

A small white-domed Ottoman building marking the site of Rachel’s Tomb still stands on this site alongside the road from Jerusalem to Hebron, near the northern entrance to Bethlehem. It has become a popular site of pilgrimage for Jews.

Jewish graves throughout Israel are traditionally covered with stones. This is because the Jews have a custom of always placing a stone when they visit a tomb or a memorial. In laying a stone on a grave, Jewish families are following Jacob’s example of placing stones on Rachel's grave when she died (see Genesis 35:20).

The photo shows stones placed on Jewish graves on the Mount of Olives overlooking Jerusalem.

You can read more about Jacob’s journey back to Hebron @ The Bible Journey | God blesses Jacob at Bethel


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